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Wanted sex offender, 51, who was caught with child porn is found sleeping in Louisiana swamp living off rats he hunted with makeshift spear

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Wanted sex offender, 51, who was caught with child porn is found sleeping in Louisiana swamp living off rats he hunted with makeshift spear


  • US Marshals found Brian Schaller, 51, living in the shelter on March 14
  • He was convicted in 2016 for distribution of child porn and had active warrants for sexual battery and violating the terms of the sex offenders’ registry

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A wanted sex offender was found living in a stick and tarpaulin shelter deep in a Louisiana swamp and eating rats that he hunted with a makeshift spear.  

Brian Schaller, 51, was convicted in 2016 for distribution of child porn and had active warrants for sexual battery and violating the terms of the sex offenders’ registry. 

Earlier this month, US Marshals received a tip-off that he was living in the Atchafalaya Basin, East of Lafayette, and tracked him down to his encampment, deep in the swamp. 

He surrendered himself and told officers he had been living there since January, catching small animals and rodents in traps and killing them with a makeshift spear for food. 

Schaller had made a dilapidated hut out of stacked branches, covered with a tarp and held together with parachute cords and even created an alarm system with string and old cans. 

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Marshals received a tip-off that wanted sex offender Brian Schaller was living in a shelter in the Louisiana swamp 

Schaller had an active warrant from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office for allegedly violating the terms of his sex offender registry and from the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's for felony sexual battery and felony oral sexual battery

Schaller had an active warrant from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office for allegedly violating the terms of his sex offender registry and from the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s for felony sexual battery and felony oral sexual battery

The shelter was made of branches stacked together and covered in trash bags and tarp

The shelter was made of branches stacked together and covered in trash bags and tarp 

According to a release from the Marshals Service, Schaller was initially indicted in 2015 for distribution of child pornography. 

They said he also had an active warrant from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office for violating the terms of his sex offender registry and from the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office for felony sexual battery and felony oral sexual battery. 

On March 12, officers received a tip-off that Schaller was living deep in the swamp. 

They put together a team of uniformed officers, boats and even canine teams to track him. 

Then on March 14, the team started searching the swamp and found Schaller’s shelter a mile-in. 

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They surrounded it and ordered him to come out, they said: ‘Schaller complied with the verbal commands and was taken into custody without incident.’

Photos of the camp show a rudimentary shelter made from sawn off branches stacked on top of each other and covered over with trash bags and a tarpaulin. 

To the side of the shelter he had strung a washing line which was still covered in clothes. 

Schaller said he had been living there since January, surviving off small animals and rats that he killed with traps and a makeshift spear

Schaller said he had been living there since January, surviving off small animals and rats that he killed with traps and a makeshift spear

He had fashioned a basked out of small branches and had even created an early-warning system using string and old cans

He had fashioned a basked out of small branches and had even created an early-warning system using string and old cans

Officers also found a make shift spear, with a kitchen knife blade fastened to a stick with twine. 

Schaller had also made a basket out of small branches. 

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The Marshals said: ‘Schaller had several small game traps along the trails around his encampment, made from paracord and small limbs he had gathered. 

‘Schaller had also deployed an early warning system made from string and aluminum cans. 

‘Schaller told investigators he had been living off the land since approximately January and that he had been living off small game and rodents.’

Schaller was first arrested in December 2014 on 500 counts of child pornography possession and his bond was set at $51 million. 

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Louisiana

Capital Region companies honored as Louisiana Growth Leaders

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Louisiana Economic Development honored two Capital Region companies as Louisiana growth leaders during an event at the Hilton Capital Center on Thursday.

Core Boiler & Mechanical Services in Prairieville and Envoc of Baton Rouge were two of the 10 companies recognized statewide.

Core has been in business for five years and services boilers, furnaces, heaters, pressure vessels, and HRSG units. Paola Alvarado is the company’s president.

Core held the top spot in Louisiana for company growth according to the 2023 Inc. 5000 list.

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The company was also recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies nationwide, boasting a 2,188% increase from 2019 to 2022.

Envoc, founded in 1997 by Calvin Fabre, is a complex software development firm representing clients nationwide. Envoc’s LA Wallet was the first legal digital driver’s license app in the nation.

A statewide panel of economic development professionals who evaluate companies in the LED growth network on business success and community contributions chose the growth leaders.

LED’s growth network has supported over 700 companies representing over $4.2 billion in annual sales and 22,700 jobs.

 

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Merchants and Marine Bank expands into Louisiana

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Merchants and Marine Bank expands into Louisiana


(Photo from Merchants and Marine Bank’s Facebook)

  • The Mississippi Coast financial institution has acquired Mississippi River Bank in Belle Chase, expanding its footprint into Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish and the West Bank.

Pascagoula-based Merchants and Marine Bank, better known as M and M Bank, announced on Thursday that the company had completed its acquisition of Mississippi River Bank out of Belle Chasse, Louisiana.

The acquisition, which was effective with the close of business on April 10, 2024, expands the M and M’s operations into the growing Plaquemines Parish and West Bank communities in Louisiana.

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According to a statement from M and M Bank, Mississippi River Bank will continue to serve clients under its existing branding as “Mississippi River Bank, a Division of Merchants & Marine Bank.”

Local executives are also staying on board. Mississippi River Bank’s Mike Bush and Lisa Works will be the Divisional Chief Executive Officer and Mississippi River Bank Divisional President / Chief Operations Officer, respectively. All remaining members of the Mississippi River Bank team have also been retained, with some joining M and M’s bank services division, Community of Resources.

The acquisition results in consolidated assets of approximately $794 million, gross loans of approximately $449 million, and deposits of approximately $617 million (unaudited totals excluding merger-related adjustments). M and M Bank now has six unique companies operating in diversified niches throughout the Southeast.





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Louisiana lawmakers reject minimum wage raise and protections for LGBTQ+ people in the workplace

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Louisiana lawmakers reject minimum wage raise and protections for LGBTQ+ people in the workplace


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Measures failed in a House committe Thursday that would have gradually increased Louisiana’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage and make discriminating against LGBTQ people in the workforce illegal.

The outcome of the two bills was unsurprising, after similar legislation succumbed in recent years to the same fate. Proponents were disheartened, maintaining that the measures would have improved life for some in the state.

Louisiana is one of five states that technically has not adopted a minimum wage and as such the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour applies. Among the bills Thursday was a proposal to gradually increase minimum wage to $12 an hour in 2026. A similar bill proposed setting the minimum wage at $14 per hour beginning in 2029.

Proponents argue that boosting the minimum wage for the first time in 15 years would make Louisiana more competitive with other states. They also said it would improve the economy with more money available to be spent while improving the overall lives of many residents who struggle to buy necessities on slim paychecks, especially as the cost of living has risen over the last decade and a half.

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Opponents say the measures would hurt business owners, placing a financial burden on them. Additionally, multiple lawmakers and business leaders said that many businesses currently opt to pay their employees more than $7.25 an hour.

Democratic lawmakers have routinely put forth measures to set the state’s minimum wage above the federal minimum wage, especially in a state that has the second-highest poverty rate in the country, with nearly 19% of the population impoverished, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In addition, lawmakers briefly heard a bill that would prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. But that proposal was voted down in committee.

Currently, Louisiana law states that it’s “unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any individual based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or natural, protective, or cultural hairstyle.” The law does not explicitly protect sexual orientation or gender identity.

Proponents of the bill say that there are many members of the LGBTQ+ community who have faced discrimination in the hiring process because of their gender identity and sexual orientation. They urged lawmakers to pass the measure, saying in a year where their is legislation targeting various facets of transgender existence, this bill would show the LGBTQ+ community that legislators do care about them.

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“The temperature and the climate here in Louisiana for the LGBTQ community is one of fear. One step that we can make happen in their lives today is to know that their jobs are not threatened,” said SarahJane Guidry, executive director of Forum for Equality, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group in Louisiana.

The bill failed along party lines. During the hearing Republican lawmakers, who opposed the measure, did not offer any reasoning for their vote against the legislation.





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